Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg has done a 180 on his decision to cooperate with special counsel Robert Meuller.
His change of heart comes after a series of bizarre interviews in which he declared he’d sooner be arrestedthan appear before a grand jury this week. During one interview, CNN host Erin Burnett even said she smelled alcohol on his breath.
“Why do I have to do it?” Nunberg told CNN of the subpoena. “I’m not cooperating,” he said later as he challenged officials to charge him.
In the earlier interviews, Nunberg said he thought Mueller may already have incriminating evidence on Mr. Trump directly, although he would not say what that evidence might be.
“I think he may have done something during the election,” Nunberg told MSNBC of the president, “but I don’t know that for sure.” He later told CNN that Mueller “thinks Trump is the Manchurian candidate.” A reference drawn from a Cold War novel and film, a “Manchurian candidate” is an American brainwashed or otherwise compromised to work on behalf of an adversarial government.
Shortly after Nunberg lobbed the first allegation, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders rebuffed him during the White House press briefing.
“I definitely think he doesn’t know that for sure because he’s incorrect. As we’ve said many times before, there was no collusion with the Trump campaign,” Sanders said. “He hasn’t worked at the White House, so I certainly can’t speak to him or the lack of knowledge that he clearly has.”
Nunberg also said he thinks former Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page, a key figure in the Russia investigation, worked with the Kremlin. “I believe that Carter Page was colluding with the Russians,” Nunberg said on CNN. “That Carter Page is a weird dude.” (CBS)
In an interview with the Washington Post, however, he said he did not believe there was anything to the collusion claims between Trump and Russia.
“I’m not spending 80 hours going over my emails with Roger Stone and Steve Bannon and producing them,” Nunberg said. “Donald Trump won this election on his own. He campaigned his ass off. And there is nobody who hates him more than me.”
He added: “The Russians and Trump did not collude. Putin is too smart to collude with Donald Trump.”
Then, in an interview with the Associated Press, Nunberg, who was fired twice from the campaign, acknowledged he was angry over Mueller’s subpoena and having to hand in thousands of emails and communications with former campaign officials, but in the end he’d end up complying.
“I’m going to end up cooperating with them,” he said.